Generation at an End, But Kennedy Dynasty Continues

5266177The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy marks the end – nearly – of a generation in America's best known dynasty. But the dynasty of political, social, and public service leaders continues.

Kennedy had eight brothers and sisters. Best known, of course, were his brothers Robert F. and John F. Kennedy, but the siblings also included Joseph P. Kennedy, known for his service and death in World War II, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, who died Aug. 11.

Only one of those nine siblings survives – Jean Kennedy Smith, who served as ambassador to Ireland under President Bill Clinton and who, like Shriver, has worked on behalf of people with developmental disabilities.

But the next generation of Kennedys is flourishing. Among its 23 living members are President John F. Kennedy's daughter Caroline Kennedy, a friend and supporter of President Obama who considered a run for Senate in New York this year; Maria Shriver, the former television journalist and first lady of California; and the late Sen. Kennedy's son Patrick J. Kennedy, a Democratic congressman from Rhode Island.

The next generation numbers more than 50, including young people aspiring to careers in medicine and maybe even politics.

Left: Caroline Kennedy at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

CBS News consultant Peter Canellos, the editor of "Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy," said Ted Kennedy's grandchildren are getting ready to enter public life by working in charitable organizations and possibly getting ready to run for public office. But things won't be the same.

"It's not the end of the Kennedys," Canellos said on "The Early Show" Wednesday, "but perhaps the end of the Kennedy myth."

Photo Essay: The Kennedy Myth

Canellos added that the Kennedy family is committed to public service based on the influence of famous family members, such as Ted.

Watch more of Canellos' interview with "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez:

Watch CBS Videos Online

More Kennedy coverage:

Arrangements for Kennedy Funeral Announced
Kennedy Memoir Set for Release Next Month
Flags to Fly at Half-Staff for Kennedy
"Liberal Lion" Remembered
No Immediate Action on Succession
In His Own Words
"The Last Brother"
Life in the Public's Glare
In Pictures: The Kennedys
Obits from U.S. Newspapers
Brothers "Would Have been Proud"

  • Ken Millstone

    Ken Millstone is an assignment editor at